Yacht and Powercraft Design and Technology
As more and more people take part in water-borne leisure activities there has been a massive growth in the yachting industry worldwide in recent years. Sailing and power yachts have increased in sophistication, comfort and performance, and now there is a new generation of 'superyachts' sailing into the world's marinas, built by wealthy individual owners or business consortia. Commercial sponsorship has grown fast, leading to the development of businesses based on both competitive and leisure sailing. This in turn has led to a rapid growth in employment opportunities for people to design, build, manage and operate the vessels.
Small craft, too, have developed dramatically. Creative engineering design, the introduction of advanced materials and new manufacturing technologies have all contributed to the creation of safer, faster and lighter craft than ever before. Ellen MacArthur's solo round-the-world speed sailing record was made possible by the carbon construction of her 32-knot, 30-metre-long trimaran, which took over 30,000 hours (a team of 30 people working for seven months) to build in Australia.
Degree courses in Marine Engineering, Ship Science or Naval Architecture cover the design and engineering of marine vessels - large and small - while the courses listed below specialise in the design and building of small craft such as yachts, leisure craft and high-speed vessels such as catamarans and trimarans. You will need to explore each of the courses carefully as they differ a great deal in their content and focus depending on whether they emphasise engineering or design.
Example areas of study
Courses differ in their emphasis. For example, some favour design and others engineering, so you need to check carefully with institutions themselves to find out exactly what you would study. The sample areas of study listed below have been selected to give you an insight into the core and optional modules that you may be able to study.
- Two-dimensional and three-dimensional industrial design
- Applied mechanics
- Naval architecture
- Yacht design technology
- Marine engineering
- Production engineering
- Automotive design
- Small craft materials and production
- Yacht mechanical systems
- Production engineering
- Electrical design
- Design concept realisation
- Structural analysis
- Small craft operational management
- Buoyancy and flotation
- Risk management
- Business and management
- High performance craft
- Environmental engineering
- Computational mechanics
- Project management
Some career possibilities
Graduates from the Yacht and Powercraft Design course are able to work as naval architects in commercial craft design offices and in shipyard design offices. Their work may include designing small racing sailing yachts, 'superyachts', patrol boats and commercial craft.
What do I need to get on a course?
The entry requirements for these courses do vary so it is wise to check the exact requirement with the institutions that you wish to apply to before you submit your application. The list below is intended as a guide to the grades and qualifications that you may be expected to have.
- UCAS Tariff: 160 - 320 points usually including mathematics and / or physics
- A-level: CC - ABB usually including mathematics and / or physics
- SQA Highers: CCCC - ABBB including mathematics and a relevant science subject
- SQA Advanced Highers: CC - ABB including mathematics and a relevant science subject
- Irish Leaving Certificates: BBBB - AAAB including relevant mathematical and science subjects
- International Baccalaureate: 28 - 34 points including relevant subjects
- Portfolio: For the more design-based courses a portfolio may be required
- Interview: some institutions may require you to attend an interview
For your application or interview, evidence of the following could be useful:
- Work experience/work shadowing in yacht/small craft building
- Your own sailing interests and achievements
- Portfolio of your own designs of yachts and small craft This should include designs and photographs of finished pieces that you have produced as part of previous study and in your own time. You should be able to discuss each piece with confidence at your interview.
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
*NB: Your school or college will need a subscription to Course Discover in order for you to gain access, for further information go to:www.coursediscover.co.uk
Credits: Some of this article was developed from You Want to Study WHAT?! Volume I, 2nd edition by Dianah Ellis, published by Trotman & Company Ltd, 2003.